Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson nearing return from broken leg

He broke his leg while blocking a shot Dec. 3 against Dallas.

Erik Johnson is close to returning from a broken leg. (Sergei/Flickr)
Erik Johnson is close to returning from a broken leg. (Sergei/Flickr)
Erik Johnson is close to returning from a broken leg. (Sergei/Flickr)

By Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson is nearing a return after being sidelined since early December with a broken leg.

Although Johnson won’t play Tuesday against Los Angeles, coach Jared Bednar said the Avalanche’s top defenseman has been going through some of the contact drills in practice and said it was a positive sign.

He broke his leg while blocking a shot Dec. 3 against Dallas.

Johnson’s return would bolster a banged-up defense that lost Nikita Zadorov for the season after he fractured his ankle Monday during a drill in practice. Zadorov leads the team in hits.

Forward Rene Bourque also is progressing from a head injury. He recently participated in practice while wearing a non-contact jersey. Bourque has been out since leaving in the first period on Feb. 1 at Los Angeles.